She’d moved away from it all
before he could take her away from it.
Her reinvented life was such
that when he made the offer a second time,
there was nothing to take her away from.
When the right man came along,
it was not to take her away from anything,
but to add to what she already had.
Picking Up Toys
Raggedy Anne is looking rather ragged.
You’ve made a hat out of stickers for her;
you’ve pulled her yarn hair apart
so it looks like she has a bad perm.
She is not yet missing an eye
(only because it’s made of thread),
but if you needled her to death
like Mama used to do to her “friends,”
she’d be real sorry.
You’ve turned Baby Aimee into a double amputee.
I thought only woodland creatures
chewed off their own foot
when it was caught in a trap.
Mickey’s hands look like they were caught
in a stump grinder;
poor Frederick the Poet Mouse
looks like he’s been on a starvation diet.
Well, he’s hanging on (or together)
by a thread,
for mastication is your instantaneous gratification.
One More Memory
If I had just one more memory–
one more moment stretched into years
(with light years between the seconds)–
I would have so much to show-and-tell you.
Does that not sound like a little child?
in the absence
of space and time
as you observe Hannah’s progression,
listen to my stories,
and see this, your daughter,
in the collegiate green cap and gown,
having remade herself into the ungraven image
she’s always wanted to be.
We share memories of you at the table;
I like to imagine you hear us
every time we speak your name.
We have no complaints.
Dad still carries your driver’s license in his wallet;
there are never enough pictures.
We say, “That’s a Mom joke!”
(when the joke is truly terrible)
or “Remember when Mom ..?”
Dad still calls you Mom;
I call you Grandma.
“Say ‘Good-night, Grandma,’”
I tell my daughter,
“blow her a kiss to heaven.”
It’s a kiss strong enough
I catch the one you send back
and plant it on her cheek.
We call you what our children call you.
You wanted Dad to call you Betty more.
Your mother always called you Betty Ann.
You liked the names Carolyn and Elise.
You dug up the roots of the family tree
to give me mine.
She is…she was…
it is just “Grandpa’s house” now,
but the contact still reads “Mom and Dad’s”
in my phone.
I will never change it.
We remember your goulash–
the only thing you knew how to make–
even though we weren’t even Hungarian.
We just are.
God was there between them,
holding both their shaky hands.
Crumbling was that faith
that marriage was forever,
but when they looked at one another,
seeing one another the way they did,
they saw from their reflections
in the windows of their souls
that God was the fulcrum,
and she, the power suit in her marriage
in his birthday suit,
was a kept man.
But for this practice of self-reflection,
of seeing themselves obstructed in the beam
they saw in one another’s eyes,
they also saw that he needed her
as much as she wanted him.
*For this poem, I used every word from this one: https://sarahleastories.com/2018/11/28/poem-a-day-november-2018-writers-digest-challenge-27-theme-sturdy-shaky/
Elly’s Mood Ring
When she was single,
too goody-two shoes to
go marijuana mellow,
she was often as black and yellow
as a honeybee,
all abuzz with hyperactivity.
When she was in the same room
with her cray-cray family,
she was orange to green-peridot,
turning a lighter green
the more distance she put
between her parents and bros.
she was blue-green fading into blue,
for they’d been with her through
the better and the worse,
the blessed and the cursed.
Then she met Eddy—
a no-drama hunk-o-rama—
who turned her pink
with just one wink.
she was totally in the mood,
her eyes vacillating from violet-burgundy
to indigo blue.
Eddy loved that to read her moods,
all he had to do was look at her ring—
but when they wed,
and she replaced
that vintage bling
with her engagement and wedding rings,
she became a mystery to him,
keeping him guessing
for the rest of his life
(if not hers,
as he was the first to die).
The Bride of Christ, the Groom of God
Shaky was her marriage,
but sturdy was the faith
that kept her marriage from crumbling,
for when they looked at one another,
holding both hands,
God was there between them,
and they saw one another the way He did.
She showed her daughter
that she could be anything she wanted
but was never home long enough to tell her about it.